The Witness of Normal

We live in crazy times. Every day we hear news of people, groups, agencies, or institutions saying and doing things that defy common sense or deny realities we can see with our own eyes. Things are so crazy, in fact, that satire writers at the Babylon Bee have problems coming up with comically outlandish ideas that don’t come true! How are we supposed to respond, particularly when the craziness comes looking for us?

We have several options. Some say we should simply ignore the craziness and withdraw to our own monastic community. Or maybe live in a gated compound if we have the money to pay for it. Others say we need to become activists and go into battle. It certainly is a target-rich environment, but we have only so much time and energy to go around. Both of these approaches have their pros and cons, but there is a third way that holds a special worth of its own. That is to simply live a normal life.

What do we mean by a normal life? Dream about what you want to be when you grow up. Learn to read, and get an education that teaches you how to think, and that teaches rather than indoctrinates. Guard and enjoy your curiosity, a sense of wonder, and a childlike faith. Listen to your elders, and.learn from their strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures. Find a way to make a living that also does something good for the rest of us. Fall in love with someone of the opposite sex, get married, and raise a family. Nurture your relationships with family, friends, and colleagues, and don’t burn bridges. Safeguard your integrity and your reputation.

At this point someone might ask, “What gives you the right to define normal?” Actually, I don’t claim any such right. But I would point to God, our Lord and Creator, who does have the authority to define what is normal and what is good. Read the first couple chapters of Genesis and follow up with readings in Proverbs and the New Testament, and you can see that not only does He define what is normal; He also pronounces it good, as if “normal” is a blessing from God. Jesus says clearly that He creates us male and female and defines marriage. God gives us work to do, tells us to honor our parents, urges us to seek wisdom, and tells us to work hard enough to be able to share with others. He reveals His truth to us, gives us life at its fullest, and loves us from beginning to end.

So why is living a normal life also a witness? We are surrounded by people who hurt, know that things are not right, or are simply broken. This often describes us, too. However, living a normal life under God’s grace shows others that normal is an understated yet wonderful option, and that it sure beats the craziness. So go ahead and make a counter-cultural witness by relishing God’s grace, reveling in God’s love, and living the normal life that God designs, blesses, and calls good!

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